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Psychiatry's "Bible" Gets an Overhaul 08 May 2012

The APA is now working on the fifth version of the hefty tome, slated for publication in May 2013. Because the DSM-IV was largely similar to its predecessor, the DSM-5 embodies the first substantial change to psychiatric diagnosis in more than 30 years. It introduces guidelines for rating the severity of symptoms that are expected to make diagnoses more precise and to provide a new way to track improvement. The DSM framers are also scrapping certain disorders entirely, such as Asperger’s syndrome, and adding brand-new ones, including binge eating and addiction to gambling.

In the past the APA has received harsh criticism for not making its revision process transparent. In 2010 the association debuted a draft of the new manual on its Web site for public comment. “That’s never been done before,” says psychiatrist Darrel Regier, vice chair of the DSM-5 Task Force and formerly at the National Institute of Mental Health. The volume of the response surprised even the framers: 50 million hits from about 500,000 individuals and more than 10,000 comments so far.

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Insights From the Youngest Minds 08 May 2012

Dr. Spelke is a pioneer in the use of the infant gaze as a key to the infant mind — that is, identifying the inherent expectations of babies as young as a week or two by measuring how long they stare at a scene in which those presumptions are upended or unmet. “More than any scientist I know, Liz combines theoretical acumen with experimental genius,” Dr. Carey said. Nancy Kanwisher, a neuroscientist at M.I.T., put it this way: “Liz developed the infant gaze idea into a powerful experimental paradigm that radically changed our view of infant cognition.”

Here, according to the Spelke lab, are some of the things that babies know, generally before the age of 1:

They know what an object is: a discrete physical unit in which all sides move roughly as one, and with some independence from other objects.

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Child Bipolar Disorder Still Rare 08 May 2012

Bipolar disorder usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 25, and is extremely rare in preteens, according to a major study: Age at onset versus family history and clinical outcomes in 1,665 international bipolar-I disorder patients

The findings are old hat. It's long been known that manic-depression most often begins around the age of 20, give or take a few years. Onset in later life is less common while earlier onset is very unusual.

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Kinect cameras watch for autism 08 May 2012

The unusual set-up at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development in Minneapolis is designed to look for signs of behavioural disorders. The plan is to find out if Microsoft's gaming sensor, combined with computer-vision algorithms trained to detect behavioural abnormalities, can be used to automate the early diagnosis of autism.

Diagnosing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children is tricky, but the earlier a child can begin speech therapy and get help learning social and communication skills, the better. Many different symptoms may suggest a child has an ASD, but they are subtle. It usually takes an experienced doctor to spot the signs by analysing video footage of the child playing - a costly and time-consuming process.

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Parents’ Depression Linked to Problems in Children 08 May 2012

Nowadays it’s increasingly clear that pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists and internists must be more alert. Research into postnatal depression in particular has underscored the importance of checking up on parents’ mental health in the first months of a baby’s life.

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